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Did Joseph Stalin Really Hate His Son?

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin really did hate his son Yakov. In fact, Stalin refused to surrender German soldiers in exchange for releasing his son from capture during World War II. In 1943, Yakov Stalin reportedly committed suicide while being held prisoner in a German concentration camp. Stalin is thought to have despised his first born son, which may be due to his beloved first wife dying when Yakov was just nine months old. At the funeral, he claimed that his wife had softened his hard heart and without her he would never be able to love anyone again. Although Stalin remarried and had another son and a daughter, his relationship with his oldest son was so contentious that Yakov attempted suicide as a result, leading the dictator to scoff about his son’s poor gun aim.

More about Stalin:

  • Stalin discharged his younger son Vasily from his Soviet military duties during WWII due to hard drinking and corrupting his regiment.

  • Djugashvili was Joseph Stalin’s birth surname—he changed it in his 30s to Stalin, which means “man of steel” in Russian.

  • It is estimated that Stalin was responsible for approximately 20 million deaths under his dictatorship.

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